Child Support Terms

We offer this listing to help you better understand term that are commonly used in the child support process:

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Absent Parent: Also referred to as AP, obligor, and non-residential or non-custodial parent. This is the person ordered to pay child support.

Administrative Hearing: A proceeding administered by a child support hearing officer, who makes determinations on such issues as child support, paternity, medical insurance, review and adjustment of support and mistakes of fact.

Arrearage: Past due child support.

Audit: Process of verifying account balances.

Birthing Cost: The cost of a child’s birth paid for by Medicaid. It may be assessed to one or both parents.

Buccal-Swab: A genetics test used in paternity cases. Tissue cells are swabbed from the inside of the cheek.

Central Paternity Registry: A statewide listing of children born out of wedlock.

Certified Print-out:  A report that verifies child support balances.

Child Support Payment Central (CSPC):  Ohio’s centralized system that collects and disburses child support payments.

Contempt:  Failure to follow court orders.

CSEA:  Child Support Enforcement Agency

Custodial Parent: The person granted legal child custody. Also referred to as the CP, residential parent or obligee.

Default:  An unpaid child support balance equal to or greater than one month’s support payment.

Defendant:  A person against whom a court action has been filed.

Emancipation: The removal of a child from child support. This usually occurs when the child turns 18 and has completed high school or no longer attends full time.

Enforcement:  Efforts taken to ensure fulfillment of support and/or health insurance orders.

Escrow:  An account established to hold money until a determination is made as to where the money needs to be applied.

Felony Non-Support:  A criminal charge that may be made when an obligor has failed to pay 26 out of the last 104 weeks of child support.

FIDM:  Financial Institution Data Match, a process in which money is transferred from a bank account to pay a past-due child support balance.

Findings and Recommendations:  The initial review of income information and recommendations as to the amount of child support.

Foster Care:  Cases where the children have been taken from their home due to neglect, abuse, delinquency or dependency.

Garnishment:  Withholding of wages to pay child support.

Genetic Tests:  Analysis of blood, tissue or DNA of the mother, child and alleged father(s) to prove or disprove paternity.

Imposition:  Seeking to fulfill a sentence that has been suspended pending compliance with a court order.

Income Withholding:  An administrative order that the CSEA sends to an obligor’s employer requesting that a child support obligation be withheld from the obligor’s paycheck.

IV-A:  Refers to cash assistance, food stamps and/or medical card services provided by the Department of Job and Family Services.

IV-D:  Refers to the section of the Social Security Act that established the child support agency.  An IV-D case is one in which the CSEA provides services.

Jurisdiction: Legal authority that a court has over particular persons, certain types of cases and a geographical area.

Lien:  Legal claim upon property to prevent sale or transfer until debt is paid.

Long Arm Statute:  A law that permits one state to claim jurisdiction over someone who lives in another state.

Lump Sum:  A one-time payment that the CSEA may seize to pay off back child support.

Medical Support:  A court order calling for medical insurance coverage.

Mistake of Fact Hearing:  An administrative or court hearing requested by the obligor or obligee because he or she objects to formal findings and recommendations of the CSEA.

NMSN:  National Medical Support Notice, a federal notice requiring that a child be enrolled in his parent’s employer-provided insurance plan, if available at a reasonable cost.

Non-custodial parent:  Parent who does not have custody of a child.

OBES:  Ohio Bureau of Employment Services, which provides unemployment benefits in the State of Ohio.

Obligee:  Person entitled to receive child support payments.

Obligor:  Person required to pay the child support obligation.

Ohio Parent Locator Service:  A system maintained by the State of Ohio to search for a party’s whereabouts and employment information.

Ohio Works First:  The name of Ohio’s public assistance program.

Paternity:  Determination of the biological father.

Petitioner:  Person who requests court action.

Plaintiff:  Person who requests initial court action.

Postmaster Verification:  Process by which the post office verifies that an individual receives mail at a given address.

Presumed Father:  A man named as a potential father of a child, without legal determination.

Public Assistance:  Variety of governmental programs that help families—based on need and for a limited time—with basic needs, such as cash assistance, food stamps and health care.

Residential Parent:  Person who has custody of the child(ren).

Respondent:  Person who responds to court action taken against him or her.

Review and Adjustment:  The process of reviewing a child support order to determine if it should be amended.

Seek Work: Requirement of an obligor to report every month to the CSEA that he or she is actively looking for a job.

Shared Parenting:  Formally referred to as joint custody, this allows parents to share time with the child(ren).

Spousal Support:  Formally known as alimony, this is an obligation to support a former spouse.

State Hearing:  A review of the child support case by the State of Ohio requested when a party does not believe that his or her IV-D case is being handled in accordance with state or federal guidelines.

Subpoena:  An order to appear at a specific time and place to give testimony upon a particular matter.

Support Enforcement Tracking System:  A statewide computer system containing records of all child support cases in Ohio.

Support Order:  The amount of money to be paid for the current child support obligation as determined by the Ohio Child Support Guidelines.

Tax Offset: Federal and state process that applies tax refunds to a past due child support obligation.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF):  Formerly known as ADC or welfare; public assistance.

UIFSA:  Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, a federal law that governs the process of establishing and enforcing court orders when a child’s parents live in different states.